Nov 5, 2012

A Chronicle of Limits, Part 11

Chapter 7:

24 June: Sunday—Falls Creek
Today, I pressed on past Wilma Lake in hopes of avoiding its plague of mosquitoes. I found a lovely breezy spot here on the rocky terrain adjacent to Falls Creek. Unfortunately, the wind stopped halfway through supper—despite my pleas. Therefore, this has become the worst spot that I have camped at so far with regards to mosquito activity. Bastards. Hordes. They infest everything. Though my face was the only flesh exposed—and reinforced by some mosquito repellent—the mosquitoes swarmed ferociously. I am surprised that I did not accidentally eat more of them than I did. They would just follow me around like a herd of demonic sheep. In the end, I decided to dash for my tent, crouch in the vestibule, close it swiftly, and practically dive into the main body. Surprisingly, only one mosquito made it into the tent. Naturally, it did not live long. I am thankful for my shelter, and the sluggishness of these Yosemite mosquitoes. But they are still bastards.

I have not yet been able to have consistent enough cell phone coverage to call family about my desire to leave the trail at Sonora Pass. Maybe tomorrow at Dorothy Pass—my gateway out of Yosemite National Park—will be different. If not, hopefully Sonora Pass. Either way, I may try to hitchhike west to get closer to San Jose—or to cell phone coverage, if need be. It has been a troublesome business. I should have sent a message with the ranger, Lisa, before leaving Benson Pass. According to my trail map, there is supposed to be a ranger station west of Wilma Lake, but I could not find it. My effort to scale a high rocky pinnacle at Macomb Pass also proved unproductive. Alas, the adventure continues. I am so tired. . . .

“Uphold my steps in Your paths, that my footsteps may not slip.” Psalm 17:5

“You have tested my heart; You have visited me in the night; You have tried me and found [loneliness, rage, brokenness, frustration . . . weakness]” (Psalm 17:3). What am I to do with these? I am still alone. I still have anger inside me, bent toward my weaknesses—myself. I am still a broken being. . . . Yet Jesus mends. There is hope in that. But how am I to proceed with these thorns digging into my resolve? Where do I belong? I am no hardcore backpacker—at least not solo. I am no PCT thru-hiker. I am a writer, a musician, a runner. I do love nature, but apparently it is too vast for me alone. I have realized that I am most excited about sharing it, even if only through photography. Yet what do I receive from being in nature, aside from learning to endure and adapt to its challenges? Granted, those are worthy gains. Perhaps they are enough. . . . No, there is more. There is life. There can be peace. Perspective: of God, of my smallness—of how little I control. There are limits. There is life. There is rest. Praise God. Amen.

25 June: Monday—Kennedy Canyon Creek
“I will love you, O Lord, my strength.” Psalm 18: 1-6, 30-31, 36

I pressed on 21 miles today to camp amidst a sizeable contingent of PCT thru-hikers. Most of them are familiar with each other—a curious and delightful band consisting of Last Minute, Stride, Pace, John T., Tortuga, Runaway Bride, Greg, and Albert, to name a few. I am thankful to spend my last night on the trail with such people. They are my greatest regret in not thru-hiking, in not having that sense of belonging. But I do not belong, not permanently at least. I glimpse one world to tell of it to others. I am a messenger, a chronicler.

We are all setting out for Sonora Pass tomorrow. I have still been unable to contact Mama & Papa. Many of my neighbors are hitchhiking east to Bridgeport to re-supply or for other endeavors. Sonora is further by comparison. Likely, being the only one going in that direction, I will have success with regards to hitching a ride.

Until then, it is colder here than anywhere else that I have been these last eleven days—and very windy. The 10,000ft+ ridgeline trail tomorrow is said to be worse: 60 mph winds—nothing unusual, considering my experiences with Colorado. I intend to wake up at 5:00 for a good start. Some of the thru-hikers may actually begin at 4:45. Either way, it will certainly be cold. Meanwhile, Yosemite is behind us. We are in Hoover Wilderness, which looks quite different: more arid and volcanic. It is fascinating how abruptly the terrain can change. Life can be like that.

* * *

My heart often races as I lie awake at night in the wilderness. Is it from fear? Perhaps. More likely it is an acute awareness of life, of a large world—a significant presence. It is God. It is His handiwork.

“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge.” Psalm 19:1-2

What truth do you speak, mighty winds of Kennedy Canyon? There is so much power beyond me. What am I to do under and within its swooping voice, its gushing breath? I am so small. I am a guest here. Speak to me, YHWH. I wish to listen. Show me your ways. Soften my heart. Lead me to where I belong.

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:4

1 comment:

Marcie said...

It's been cool reading about what your day to day was like out there on the trail. Thank you for sharing so openly w/ all of us around the world. :)...and I'm telling Marna that you used the "b" word twice. ;) hee hee.